Please have a look at the issues and consider lodging a submission with your views.  The $500 million Surgical Procedures, Interventional Radiology and Emergency (SPIRE) is a much needed acute care facility for Canberra and the surrounding regions.

While the Woden Valley Community Council (WVCC) supports the construction of the SPIRE on the Canberra Hospital campus, we have serious concerns about the construction of the SPIRE facility on the north east edge of the campus (opposite the Garran Primary School) and whether the funding is adequate to future proof health outcomes on the campus.

TCH is the largest acute care hospital between Sydney and Melbourne and it services residents in Canberra and southeast NSW. The ACT Treasury forecasts Canberra’s population to reach 581,000 by 2040 and 703,000 by 2058 (Population Projections 2018 to 2058 – released January 2019). The population in southeast NSW is also expected to increase.

The SPIRE needs a site that provides ambulance access from the front door (the main arterial Yamba Drive) and a site that facilitates great health outcomes. It is the anchor building for the hospital and planning is required to ensure effective patient flows and interfaces with existing services. Planning is also essential to ensure there are comfortable, reflective green areas and space for future acute care expansion is preserved. It is important that the impacts on the surrounding residents are considered and that the staff are included in the planning to build morale.

The SPIRE needs planning for a site that provides:

  • external access – ambulance access from the front door (the main arterial Yamba Drive).
  • internal access – a centrally located anchor building to ensure effective patient flows and interfaces with existing services
  • a precinct wide plan, including the Garran Primary School
  • consideration of the impacts on the surrounding residents
  • parking and traffic flows
  • comfortable, reflective green areas
  • space for future acute care expansion preserved.
  • staff involvement to ensure great health outcomes and to build morale.

TCH Emergency Department is experiencing longer waiting times than hospitals in other states.
Similarly, the Medical Board of Australia’s 2019 medical training survey found that the ACT had the least satisfaction across Australia for recommending my current workplace as a place to train.

Many Garran residents have expressed concerns about SPIRE being located on Palmer St, including:

  • safety of the community (especially children) due to the 24 hour ambulance movements on Palmer Street, a residential street opposite the Garran Primary School
  • traffic congestion on Kitchener St, Gilmore Cres and Palmer St which is the main entrance to Garran and Hughes from Hindmarsh Drive
  • parking shortages
  • noise from the helicopter pad (on the 9 storey SPIRE).

The WVCC wants to see the precinct planned for the future – plan it once, plan it right.

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